by Jill Place, The Acting Intuitive
What’s the Best Acting Training?
Actors always ask me that. There are a million coaches out there doing a million versions of thousands of techniques. Why me?
Well, first of all, I studied with all the coaches that have set the standard for acting training in the last 100 years. Strasberg, Meisner, Hagen, Spolin, who created improvisation, Austin, who founded The Groundlings, and a protégé of Jerzy Grotowski’s. I didn’t realize until years later when I started my private classes that this was an amazing legacy I had . . . I had worked firsthand with almost all the coaches who had changed the face of world acting. Not only that, I had studied long enough with most of them to internalize their techniques so that I could teach them.
Second, I was able to synthesize the best of everything I’ve learned into my own technique. I was a Method coach for many years, and was called the best of this genre in L.A. by many students. But I found this form limited. Stanislavski himself said that training should be ever-evolving. He himself abandoned some of his earlier training beliefs later in life and tried out new ones.
I don’t believe that 100 year-old training suits the needs of modern acting. Stanislavski changed his methods many times within his own lifetime. That’s why it was time for a change.
So, third, I wanted to develop something that met the needs of today’s actors as well as adhering to tried-and-true methods that worked. I also wanted to do it faster than what I had experienced in the past. True, it takes a while to restructure an expressive apparatus stunted by years of societal oppression, even if there’s a basic talent. But I spent five years in a Method relaxation chair before I began to internally grasp what Method was all about. And I didn’t want that for my students.
Fourth, because I wanted to get actors up and running within three to six months, I chose a very physical acting technique based upon Grotowski’s work because I saw that this particular type of training restructured that expressive apparatus better than anything else. And . . . as you know . . . I’ve done it all. I also began to see that opening the body physically was a great way to access emotion easily. I had done Strasberg’s Affective Memory and Meisner’s preparation, and found this even more “Affective”.
Fifth, I wanted to bring acting training into the 21st Century, where most of the acting is done on film. Therefore, every scene we do in class is filmed so that actors can gain a sense of what working in front of a camera is like. We even watch scenes after class and discuss what can be done to improve them.
Sixth, I worked in classes of thirty or more and felt that they were much too large to learn anything quickly. So my classes are only six and are taught in my house to provide lots of support as well as an intimate environment in which to thrive.
Finally, I also teach audition and cold reading skills intertwined with basic technique. I learned these way before they had classes in them by trial and error, and feel that teaching them together in a structured way not only makes them an integral part of your technique, it also gives to the confidence to need to do auditions with ease.
So there it is . . . all the good things about my Act Intuitive classes. So why Act Intuitive? Only you can know. To book a personal interview and see if it’s right for you, click here.
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What are your pet peeves about your current acting training? Does anything I’ve said resonate with you? Please share it as I’m always updating my training to meet the needs of my students.